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Copper Tax Shines in $100,000 James F. Lewis III Win
Cap Classic Keeps Stays Unbeaten in $100,000 Smart Halo
Hybrid Eclipse Defends Title in $100,000 Thirty Eight Go Go
LAUREL, MD – Rose Petal Stable’s Copper Tax overcame a poor break to split horses in mid-stretch and catch Inveigled approaching the wire, extending his win streak to five races with a last-to-first neck triumph in Saturday’s $100,000 James F. Lewis III at Laurel Park.
The 12th running of the Lewis for 2-year-olds was the second of three $100,000 stakes on the Veterans Day program, preceded by the Smart Halo for 2-year-old fillies, also sprinting six furlongs, and 1 1/16-mile Thirty Eight Go Go for fillies and mares 3 and up.
It was the second straight stakes win for Copper Tax ($3), favored at 1-2 in a field of seven, following the Oct. 14 Rocky Run at Delaware Park, where he had made each of his first five starts. The Lewis marked a cutback from the one-mile Rocky Run.
“We just wanted to test his speed because once we go long, we want to know he has it in him at the end,” Rose Petal’s Chris Loso said. “He threaded the needle, which was impressive.”
Inheriting the rail following the scratch of stablemate Secret Zipper, Copper Tax broke a step slow and trailed the field as Inveigled, a front-running eight-length maiden special weight winner Oct. 5 at Laurel making his stakes debut, went a quarter-mile in 22.52 seconds under pressure from Timonium Juvenile winner Sweet Soddy J.
The top two raced side-by-side around the far turn, going a half-mile in 46.17 seconds before 21-1 long shot Sweet Soddy J forged a short lead as Jaime Rodriguez, aboard Copper Tax, launched his bid. With plenty of run and little room, Copper Tax barged through a narrow opening between Sweet Soddy J to his inside and appeared to brush Bolt of Aurum on the outside and ran down Inveigled to win in 1:11.30 over a fast main track.
It was three-quarters of a length back to Bolt of Aurum in third, followed by Sweet Soddy J, Maryland Million Nursery winner Catahoula Moon, Buccherino and Give It a Whirl.
“He broke bad, and he was last, but he made up for it,” Rose Petal’s Harry Loso said.
“I was just afraid that he might get [disqualified] for bumping another horse by accident,” Chris Loso said. “I think it all comes down to a big heart, and he has that.”
Copper Tax, by Grade 2 winner Copper Bullet, sold for $45,000 as a yearling last fall. His win streak has come by more than 23 combined lengths since losing his June 10 debut by a neck.
“He’s a late foal, in May, but he’s come along well,” Harry Loso said. “He’s just a baby. It’s all good.”
Cap Classique Stays Unbeaten in $100,000 Smart Halo
DARRS Inc.’s Cap Classique surged through an opening along the rail, reeled in front-running favorite Deboisblanc in mid-stretch and drew clear to keep her perfect record intact with a xxx length victory in the $100,000 Smart Halo.
It was the third win in as many starts for Cap Classique ($6.60), making her stakes debut. Ridden by Jevian Toledo for trainer Brittany Russell, the 2-year-old daughter of multimillionaire and 2019 champion older male Vino Rosso covered six furlongs in 1:12.09 over a fast main track.
Toledo settled Cap Classique well back of pacesetting Miss Harriett, 62-1 upset winner of the Maryland Million Lassie Oct. 14, who was pressed by Deboisblanc through a quarter-mile in 22.67 seconds and a half in 46.31. Deboisblanc edged past Miss Harriett leaving the far turn while Toledo waited for room, finding it once straightened for home and responding when roused to win by 1 ¼ lengths.
Deboisblanc, a last out maiden winner at Horseshoe Indiana trained by Brad Cox, stayed up for second, 1 ½ lengths ahead of Miss Justify. Caress, Miss Harriett, Roanan Goddess, Princess Indy and Low Mileage completed the order of finish. Ms. Tart and Vicountess were scratched.
“You don’t love to see that you draw the rail in spot like this, but she’s a good filly. They’re going to have to overcome post positions at some point in their lives. We like her a lot, and she showed it today,” Russell said. “You have to play the break in a situation like that, and that’s what he did. Honestly, he was eating [dirt] the whole way around the turn and I was a little bit concerned. But when he got her out and he asked her, she responded for him.”
Hybrid Eclipse Defends Title in $100,000 Thirty Eight Go Go
The Elkstone Group’s Hybrid Eclipse came with a steady run down the center of the track to sweep past fellow multiple stakes winner Malibu Beauty and reel in Grade 3-placed favorite Opus Forty Two and defend her title in the $100,000 Thirty Eight Go Go.
Hybrid Eclipse ($6.80) gave trainer Brittany Russell her second stakes win of the day, following 2-year-old filly Cap Classique in the $100,000 Smart Halo. The 5-year-old mare was ridden by Russell’s husband, champion jockey Sheldon Russell.
Hybrid Eclipse completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.28 over a fast main track to win by 5 ¼ lengths for her ninth career victory and fifth in a stakes, all at Laurel, three of them this year. Opus Forty Two was second, with 17-time winner Sweet Willemina rallying for third.
“She’s one you can’t really rush early on in the race,” Sheldon Russell said. “As long as I’m sort of following the right horse, you just can’t get her stopped. It’s worked out well today where the rail has been wide open the whole race. She just sort of ran up in there and I was just trying to follow [Opus Forty Two] and Malibu Beauty. I never got her stopped today and she really showed up. She was awesome today.”
Multiple stakes winners Intrepid Daydream and two-time Maryland-bred champion Luna Belle were scratched. Withdrawn from Keeneland’s November breeding stock sale to continue her racing career, Luna Belle was entered to make her second start off a 513-day layoff.
“Everything is fine,” co-owner Deborah Greene. “If she’s not 100 percent we didn’t want to run her, and she’s not, but it’s nothing serious or anything like that. I talked with [trainer] Ham [Smith] this morning. It’s just the best thing. She’s too good a horse, so we’ll save it for next time.”
Luna Belle is nominated to the $75,000 Politely for Maryland-bred/sired fillies and mares 3 and up going six furlongs Friday, Nov. 24.